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The Thoughtful Home Series: Part Three

May 24, 2021 | By Daniel R. Swift, AIA

Our Safest Place

My last article highlighted a few ways The Thoughtful Home creates time for homeowners through a design philosophy that embeds convenience and flexibility into the floor plan. By focusing on the end user – and the way I want my own home to live – the plan marries subtle shifts in space planning with the deliberate goal of improving the actual experience of daily life.

But before residents can fully appreciate these immersive plan benefits, they must feel calm and safe. The home needs to help owners transition successfully from outside to in and from room to room, buffering one from the next to help create feelings of positivity. At the other end of the spectrum, the home must also be our fortress against the perils of the outside world. The plan must first help homeowners satisfy their basic, instinctual need to feel safe at home. This is the foundation for every other positive experience we designed into The Thoughtful Home.

Transition

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Open floor plans are highly functional and still very appropriate for today’s lifestyle. This makes transition points and buffer zones incredibly important, especially since positive experiences at these transition points has been proven to create positive interpersonal interactions with family members.

The brain needs two things in order to successfully shift gears and prepare for time inside the home with others:

1.     nullA buffer zone: The Thoughtful Home includes an enhanced owners’ entry from the garage that enables residents to enter the house without being immediately seen. A short corridor separates this important transition zone from the busy main kitchen. The pocket door can completely close off the space, providing full control over when and how we first engage with others. When they’re ready, owners have the option to move toward the public areas of the home or, if they need more transition time, they can first enter the owners’ suite via the laundry room.

2.     A cool drink and a snack: We know from science that encouraging the release of endorphins can help establish a positive mindset and physical comfort, so we designed this opportunity as part of the owners’ entry transition experience. A modestly sized but highly functional morning kitchen and pantry flanks the corridor leading to the kitchen, providing the perfect chance to grab a cool drink of water and a small bite to eat before entering the home. We coach homeowners about how this intentional step releases endorphins that can improve their transition and subsequent interactions throughout the rest of the home.

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Security

Home is our safe place, so The Thoughtful Home includes plan features specifically designed to enhance our sense of security. The most important safety elements are largely unseen, starting with a perfectly engineered and constructed design. But in the finished home, the design should instill homeowners with the confidence that their property and their loved ones are protected.

Safety features feel the best when they go largely unnoticed, so we prefer to utilize passive security design when possible. A great example is the front porch of The Thoughtful Home. We designed an entry portico integrated into one corner of the plan, leaving an edge of the stoop open to the adjacent landscaping area. The “found” space behind the front column provides an ideal location to place package deliveries, keeping them covered from weather and shielded from street view.

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The basement offers another visually appealing but more active safety feature. A custom bookcase door disguises the entrance to a “secret room” that houses a home theater and gaming area. This unique space doubles as a storm shelter / safe room, hardwired to the home’s security system. The vast majority of the time, the secret room functions as a family-focused fun zone, but it stands ready to provide protection when needed.

Next Up: Relaxation & Rejuvenation

A great home design has incredible potential. As I continue to study neuroscience and human performance, I’m excited about how The Thoughtful Home can offer so much more than simple shelter. Keep an eye out for the fourth and final installment of this series for a glimpse of how The Thoughtful Home can help homeowners feel better and live longer, for real.


To chat with us about designing your own Thoughtful Homes, reach out to us!

VIEW THE IMMERSIVE TOUR HERE

VIEW PART ONE HERE

VIEW PART TWO HERE